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Education in America: Failing Schools
Education in America is one of the most important issues that face our nation. If the education in America is not thought of one of most serious issues we face, our nation as a whole will fall. There are many debates and they seemly extend to all walks of life. The debates range from the decline in education, school vouchers, and the no child left behind law. As a nation, the United States is ranked above others. We must search for that solution to all of the proÐ²Ð‚â„¢s and conÐ²Ð‚â„¢s in education. The solution should allow all walks of life to excel in the education realm. After all, the children of today will be the leaders of tomorrow.
The quality of education in the United States stated by Mr. Bethell places the blame on the deterioration on inefficient bureaucracies, irresponsible teachers, unions and the lack of teacher preparedness. He even goes in to detail to explain how the United States was once an envied nation now comes under great scrutiny for low standardize test scores (par. 20).
In 2003, after months of investigation, the Hoover InstitutionÐ²Ð‚â„¢s Koret Task Force compiled an overview twenty years later after the National Commission on Excellence in Education was held ( Bethell, par. 2). The Koret Task Force has blamed the decline in Education on poor budgeting from the Department of Education. They claim that even though teacherÐ²Ð‚â„¢s salaries have risen, and the amount of students in the classroom has been reduced the education has still declined. Some of the Koret Task Force finding includes, Ð²Ð‚ÑšThe United States continues to fall behind other countries. Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) scores remain well below their 1970 levels. The school year is about seven days shorter than formerly. The share of teachers with a masterÐ²Ð‚â„¢s degree in a particular subject area (rather than in education) has fallen from 17 percent in 1982 to percent now. TeacherÐ²Ð‚â„¢s salaries rose from $19,000.00 a year to $35,000.00 in 2000. Ð²Ð‚ÑšAnd their fringe benefits have increased rapidlyÐ²Ð‚Ñœ (Bethaell, par 4). The Koret Task Force also believes that public education is a civil rights issue. They state that a school voucher should be used in lieu of making poorer learning environment better. They suggest that children who are from a poor black or Hispanic background that happens to live in the inner city should have a choice in their education. The school vouchers would allow a student from another neighborhood to attend the school of their choice. Minority students have increased their test taking scores due to the school voucher program. These issues explain several legitimate reasons why the Public Education System is failing.
The difficulty in school vouchers is expressed in the need for school choice because it helps promote better schools, but also raises the question of who should receive the vouchers. Choice can mean different things to many people. In 1962 when school vouchers came into play there has been an ongoing concern, just who should have the voucher? Should it be the minority family that lives across town, or the family that is financially able to pay tuition? The problem with school vouchers is that it takes tax dollars to pay for them. Although, Ð²Ð‚ÑšthereÐ²Ð‚â„¢s a very strong argument for choice but education improvement must be part of itÐ²Ð‚Ñœ (Hobson, par. 4). The administration assumes that schools are like cars: bound to improve under competitive pressure. Ð²Ð‚ÑšIn a market, advocates say, good schools will flourish and multiply and bad ones will be forced to close. Yet only a sound curriculum will ensure well-educated students-students who can write a personal paper, who can use basic algebra, who knows when Lincoln was president and where France isÐ²Ð‚Ñœ (Hobson, par. 4). But if better education is not demanded, it will not be given. In retrospect, if vouchers were such a great idea then there would not be so many problems.
In a bill that was signed into law in 2002 it proclaimed that all students by 2014 will be proficient in academic skills (Bush, par 1). During the 2003 speech that was given by President Bush claims that due to adequate testing set up by the individual states that there are significant gains in student academics. These gains have resulted in extra funding, enhanced teacher training and even tutoring. Bush was quoted as saying, Ð²Ð‚ÑšThe era of low expectations and low standards is ending; a time of great hopes and proven results is arriving and together we are keeping a pledge: every child in America will learn, and no child will be left behindÐ²Ð‚Â¦.Ð²Ð‚Ñœ (Bush, par. 5). President Bush has placed great enhances on testing. It is believed that frequent testing in the classroom can be used as a guide to help individual schools build academically. Also, each school would receive a grade for its achievement level and be required to post it for the public to see. The bill insists on higher standards and higher achievement levels for all school. It joins the teachers, principles and education chiefs together in the fight for high education. It encourages great value and instills hope for our country.
There is no need to be alarmed over education in America. While many critics are quick to point out the fact that American students have fallen behind in the academic realm, they fell to mention that the American students rank high in competitiveness and creativity, giving the American students the advantage (Bracey, par. 1).
The concern with the nationÐ²Ð‚â„¢s public school education statistics has been on the rise for the last twenty years. The concern began to take notice in the early 1980Ð²Ð‚â„¢s. A Nation at Risk, whose authors wrote, Ð²Ð‚ÑšIf only to improve on the slim competitive edge we retain in world markets, we must dedicate ourselves to the reform of our educational systemÐ²Ð‚Â¦Ð²Ð‚Ñœ (Bracey, par. 2). The article was centered around economic growth with the main focus on how well students scored on standardized test. The parties involved have kept the pot stirred, but is yet to offer any compelling evidence to support their claim. The International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) scored 41 nations and the United States ranked 29th in mathematics and second in competitiveness. The correlation is so small compared to the other nations that the study does not hold much merit. This information proves that standardized test scores should not hold so much merit after all. The testing does prove the United States is still ranked very high in the economic and creativity field in comparison to other nations.
Vouchers were first introduced when Milton Friedman, who was an economist in the 1950Ð²Ð‚â„¢s proposed that vouchers could be used to give parents a choice of where they could send their children to school. When the school received the voucher it was then turned into the government so that the school could receive money for that studentÐ²Ð‚â„¢s attendance. The better the school, the more the students wanted to attend. This left bad school to go out of business. The vouchers could also be used in private school. Vouchers being used in private schools raised the question, is it constitutional to give government money to private religious schools? Religion is one reason that school vouchers are not very useful anymore. Many people fear that rather than encouraging public schools to do better the use of vouchers to private schools will only do harm. This debate on the use of vouchers is far from being over.
Based on the viewpoint of Don W.Hooper, President of the American Association of School Administrators, he maintains that educational systems that use objective standards to measure student achievement are highly effective (Hopper, par.1). In his study he gives several examples of how teachers and students can work together to achieve higher education and explains testing is needed but should be used as a tool to improve education.
Imagine two forth grade classes, one with a relaxed classroom, the teachers and parents are working together for the promotion of the classroom. The only concern in the classroom is to maintain good grades on test that have been made up by the teacher and to pass the annual achievement test. The second class is almost the same as the first, but this classroom is has is goals and assessments posted so that both the students and the parents are aware of the goal set for the class. Both classes are testing, but which class is better? Mr. Hooper believes that standardized testing is important but thinks that it should be used as a tool to help improve the education system and not as a tool to use against the student in a pass or fail manner. Guidelines need to be set but there must be some consideration given to what is going on in the classroom.
There are a number of concerns with education in America. As a strong nation it is our responsibility to see that, Ð²Ð‚ÑšNo Child is Left BehindÐ²Ð‚Ñœ, anyone who needs a voucher to attend school receives one, regardless of color or background. It should take in to consideration that we are ranks high in both economics and in the creativity field. There should be closer look taken into what is going on in the classrooms. Every classroom is different, every student is different and we all live in different geographical areas.
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